Praised for her “stylish” singing (Opera Magazine) and the “emotional force” (The Times) of her performances, mezzo-soprano Joanna Harries enjoys a varied career in both opera and recital.
In the 2022/23 season Joanna makes her debut with Opera Rara and the London Philharmonic Orchestra as Finocchini in Offenbach’s La Princesse de Trébizonde (recording and concert performance at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall), Contessa Ceprano Rigoletto for Opera Holland Park, Lucinda La forza dell’amor paterno for The Barber Opera, Deborah Robinson Crusoe for West Green House Opera and Medoro Orlando at Buxton International Festival with the Liberata Collective, led by Adrian Butterfield. Concerts include mezzo soloist for Paul Rissmann’s Through the Looking Glass suite with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Concert Hall, and Mozart Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Brighton Festival Chorus at Cadogan Hall. She also gives a series of recitals for Opera Prelude, a lunchtime recital at the Royal Opera House, and brings mental health initiative SongPath back to Oxford Lieder and Leeds Lieder with co-founder Jess Dandy.
In the 2021/22 season Joanna was a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio in London, performing scenes as Cherubino, Idamante, Ruggiero, Le Prince Charmant and Cenerentola with the orchestras of English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Scottish Opera. Concerts this season included a tour of Scandinavian Song with Sholto Kynoch for Oxford Lieder, a Britten Pears Young Artist recital with Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton at Snape Maltings, and a series of recitals for Opera Prelude . Joanna was awarded a Sybil Tutton Opera Award and Tait Memorial Trust Award, and was a finalist in the inaugural Boosey & Hawkes SingFinzi competition.
More about Joanna
Born in New Zealand and raised in Wales, Joanna was a choral scholar at the University of Cambridge and before training at the Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Her opera roles stretch from baroque to contemporary, including Dido Dido and Aenea (Purcell), Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerlina Don Giovanni and Bastienne Bastien und Bastienne (Mozart), Hélène Une éducation manquée (Chabrier), Varvara Kat’a Kabanova and Karolka Jenůfa (Janáček), the Drummer Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Ullmann), and Sāvitri Sāvitri (Holst). She has performed with companies including Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Longborough Festival Opera and British Youth Opera. Joanna was also an Emerging Artist for the Royal Opera House “Opera Dots” programme.
As concert soloist she has performed at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, with the BBC Philharmonic at Harrogate Royal Hall, and at the Bach Festival Świdnica in Poland. A keen recitalist, Joanna has performed with Oxford Lieder, the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings, Pushkin House and the National Portrait Gallery. She is an Opera Prelude Young Artist, Handel House Talent artist and Britten-Pears Young Artist, and was awarded the Edith Brass Prize for Lieder at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Joanna is in demand as a performer of contemporary music and has premiered roles in new operas including Prometheus in Tim Benjamin’s The Fire of Olympus, Tartine in David Blake & Keith Warner’s Scoring a Century for British Youth Opera, Awen (cover) in Pwyll ap Sion’s Gair ar Gnawd for Welsh National Opera, and Girl/Psychiatrist in Scott Stroman & Tamsin Collison’s Fever Pitch, an adaptation of the iconic Nick Hornby book, and Diana in Scott Stroman’s new opera The Weekend based on Michael Palin’s play. She has also premiered works by composers Lucy Armstrong (Cheese at the Bridgewater Hall), Melissa Douglas (Sonnet 116 at the John Ryland’s Library, Manchester), Michael Betteridge (Dawn Chorus at the Royal Exchange Theatre), and Anna Appleby (winning composition, 2015 Rosamond Prize). She performed as vocal soloist in the UK revival of Steve Reich’s video opera Three Tales (Ensemble BPM) and has collaborated with performance artist Maeve Rendle at Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth and the Harris Museum in Preston.
Joanna runs SongPath with co-founder Jess Dandy, a mental health initiative bringing together music, nature and mental health in specially curated outdoor events, alongside free workshops with local mental health charities. Since 2019 they have taken SongPath to Cumbria (Ulverston International Music Festival), Yorkshire (Leeds Lieder) and Oxfordshire (Oxford Lieder). Joanna was awarded a Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award to develop the podcast Songs of the River.
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